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Old 06-28-2012, 05:37 PM   #1
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1976 Argosy 26' HELP - do I buy this?

Friends and Airstream Guru's,

Last night I looked at a 26 argosy that is for sale, and tonight I have to decide.

new tires, new rims, new fresh paint. - B-E-A-UTIFUL outside. original awnings in working order.

elec. works, air cond. works, water, toilet, shower, stove, etc. all in working order. all windows operable.

The question is: the interior flooring and cushions are not original, nor is the counter top. (i think they were orange, yellow, green and red, right?)

and it needs a lot of elbow grease and clorox- if you know what i mean.

but the papers, and everything are included. this is a cherry on the outside, the inside is nice, but far from perfect.

This is a lot of money for me, but i think i may be foolish if I don't buy it. please advise

they are asking 6500 - i think i can get it for 6K

thanks so much to everyone that is helping me.
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Old 06-28-2012, 05:51 PM   #2
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It would be better to wait and have a knowlegable Airstream person inspect it for you. If you have to decide tonight and the owner appears to be honest and trustworthy, then I say go for it.

Dan
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Old 06-28-2012, 07:44 PM   #3
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Not meaning to "put the fear of god in you", but all that spit and polish will mean very little, if you have to do a body off floor replacement. Better to give a refundable deposit, and have it inspected. If you were close to me, I would do it for you.
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Old 06-28-2012, 07:47 PM   #4
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PS: The flooring could be covering up a lot of problems. Have you done the "ice-pick" inspection?
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Old 06-28-2012, 08:21 PM   #5
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Good advice above. Don't jump at it too quickly! If it's all original stuff that price seems a high (even if it looks pretty good).
Find out about the floor and frame.
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Old 06-28-2012, 09:02 PM   #6
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1976 Argosy 26' HELP - do I buy this?

Greetings terri_dozee!

Welcome to the Forums!

Quote:
Originally Posted by terri_dozee View Post
Friends and Airstream Guru's,

Last night I looked at a 26 argosy that is for sale, and tonight I have to decide.

new tires, new rims, new fresh paint. - B-E-A-UTIFUL outside. original awnings in working order.
The cost for tires, rims, and new paint would likely total around $2,000 to as much as $5,000 . . . the quality of the paint work if professionally done would have a big impact on the cost/value of the work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by terri_dozee View Post
elec. works, air cond. works, water, toilet, shower, stove, etc. all in working order. all windows operable.
While working major appliances are a plus, there is still the issue of the appliances nearing the end of their life expectancy. It wouldn't take long to spend half or a little more of the asking price to replace just two or three of the major appliances. Dometic refrigerators of this era tend to be quite reliable, but most tend to fail sometime between 20 and 30 years (a new replacement Dometic would run around $1,000). While the Armstrong Bay Breeze air conditioners are quite long-lived it wouldn't be unusual to need either a compressor or a fan motor . . . probably $400 to $500 . . . or a new replacement air conditioner would be between $750 and $1,000. The furnace, if original, is well beyond its life expectancy and was known to have a heat exchanger known for rust induced failures . . . a new replacement furnace can be between $750 and $1,000. The water heater is also an appliance that if original is beyond its life expectancy and a new replacement can run between $500 and $1,000 depending upon options chosen. My experience with my vintage coaches both of which were very original when purchased is that at least one of the major appliance failed during my first season . . . with the Minuet, it was the water heater and power converter (Univolt); and with the Overlander it was the water heater and the furnace.

Quote:
Originally Posted by terri_dozee View Post
The question is: the interior flooring and cushions are not original, nor is the counter top. (i think they were orange, yellow, green and red, right?)
Unlike the vintage car hobby, most Vintage Airstream owners are not overly concerned about the interior soft goods being identical to the original (there are exceptions with low production or other historically significant coaches). During most of the first generation Argosy years, interior color schemes were typically . . . Argosy Orange, Harvest Gold (Yellow), Spring Green (a very light Avacado color), and a Sky Blue. As long as the replacements are of good quality and properly installed, the value of the coach shouldn't be negatively impacted unless the color scheme is one that you wouldn't want to live with . . . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by terri_dozee View Post
but the papers, and everything are included. this is a cherry on the outside, the inside is nice, but far from perfect.

This is a lot of money for me, but i think i may be foolish if I don't buy it. please advise

they are asking 6500 - i think i can get it for 6K

thanks so much to everyone that is helping me.
The asking price (IMHO) is not too terribly far out of the ball park so long as the actual subfloor is strong and rot free. The critical issue is being prepared for the likelihood that one or more of the major appliances is likely to fail in the not too distant future with the associated expense for a replacement. Something else to consider is the age and quality of the soft goods that are present in the coach . . . if there is a question about low quality or age, you should also consider the costs to remedy any shortcomings.

Good luck with your deliberations!

Kevin
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Old 06-29-2012, 12:57 AM   #7
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WOW, thank you for helping me out with this question and spending your beloved time providing feedback to a stranger.

I wish I would have done this earlier. To tell you the truth, I don't know about the "ice pick" test and no one ever taught me what it is that I should be looking out for.

And now I feel foolish and apprehensive. The couple selling this are trustworthy country folk, and I met their daughter, grand children and other family members...

The question I have now is: I gave 1/2 down until Saturday, and I am feeling remorse. I will not be able to replace or repair as overlander suggested.... It is just me (a single mom who recently returned to university)... Do I face the possible problems, or tell them I made an unwise choice, and ask for mercy and the money back?

I realize these are ethical questions, and most of you may not be able to answer them as you don't know my situation, but I am still asking for input. I can take a loss if it is the right thing to do.

Lastly, I live on the perfect street to sell things, whether they be cars, or cherries or whatnot. I guess I could park it in my driveway and try to get my money back...

if anyone wants to see it, go to michigan craigslist and 'grand rapids' then type argosy in the search section. you should see it there....

any suggestions will be read with gratitude.

Grace and peace,
terri
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Old 06-29-2012, 03:49 AM   #8
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Hi Terri, I went to craiglist and looked at your "purchase". I do think it is a real beauty. If you are going to get use out of it, you probably won,t go wrong, assuming all is currently in good working order. The "ice pick test" I was referring to, is to use an ice pick to test the wooden floor for water damage not visible to you. The Airstream/Argosy trailers of the 1970's have a plywood floor. Water damage can cause the wood to rot in time, and can be costly to repair. You take the ice pick, poke it thru the carpet in areas such as the entry, inside the door. If the wood is rotton, the ice pick will feel a soft spongy feel. If the wood is strong, the ice pick will feel a sudden stop. My Argosy had a bad spot in front of the entry door about 1 foot square. I was able to see it, because the carpet was not attached, and I just lifted it up. Wood damage can be in areas not visible, such as the front, behind the couch or "Goucho", where the fresh water tank is located. It is difficult to get into the area between the tank and front wall to inspect the floor. The other area is behind the sink and toilet, where many Airstreams leak, and damage the floor. It is also difficult to get to this area, because there is no inspection door from outside, as there is on some models of Airstream.
Kevin also gave you much good info, he is very experienced at this as well. I would suggest you have the trailer inspected by someone. Don't just give up, but do get another opinion. It could still be a good deal for you, and a very enjoyable rv experience. And by the way, the owners indicated they took this in on a trade, meaning, they don't really know the condition of it either. Honest, well meaning folks, but not savvy to Airstreams.
Good luck,
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Old 06-29-2012, 03:58 AM   #9
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PS Prices vary by area. In California, that trailer would probably bring that price. It does vary by area in the U.S., another good reason for an independant parties viewpoint from Grand Rapids Michigan.
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Old 06-29-2012, 07:49 AM   #10
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That really does look nice. And if it's true that it was stored inside as the post says then I don't think you should regret it. If it was stored inside then the floor should be in good condition. Did it smell musty inside?
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Old 12-02-2012, 08:57 PM   #11
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Did you buy it? I am also looking at the same model trying to decide what its worth. The one I am looking at has new tires and wheels, Axles look okay in pictures. Structurally its sound, according to owner.

It looks like most of the work needed is replacing floors (not crazy about older carpet) work in the bathroom, upholstery etc. All appliances worked about a year ago when last used.

Thinking of trading a boat for it, which is worth around 5-6k.

I'm pretty handy with restoration projects on cars/boats. Think this will be a fun project to work on while still being able to use it. Its was stored outside but under a roofed carport, paint looks pretty good in photos.
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Old 12-02-2012, 09:24 PM   #12
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Get into the maintenance threads!

Ahem... female fulltimer here. Can't do the work? FYI a sewing machine, a stand mixer, a vacuum cleaner and a food processor are all POWER TOOLS. Any person who can make another human being can surely inflate tires correctly, change oil, learn to use a torque wrench properly and in time, grease her own wheel bearings.

There will be maintenance and repairs. I CAN afford to pay dependable people to do the work for me, so most times I DO. I also can and DO some of the maintenance stuff myself.

First, put your mind in gear to LEARN to do it yourself. Next, seriously consider joining WBCCI or TAC or both and going to rallies - in spring there are many maintenance rallies where experienced people will show you the ropes.

Next, remember the demeanor of many professional mechanics you've seen - some are professional, others have butt cleavage, blow their noses with their bare hands, and regard the planet as their personal urinal. Their work often reflects the "quality" of their personal habits.

I'm sixty-four and not slender! I can still draw a crowd (of geezers) when I work on my Airstream! Last year I changed out my tires and rims from 15 inch to 16 inch, and had quite an audience as I ran the wheels on ramps, and changed out each tire and rim combo. It did get a bit hairy "adjusting" the spare carrier for the larger tire. I "womanhandled" the uprights to a new angle with the aid of a 5 lb. sledge and a much abused close-ended wrench.

Now, look at your Argosy as a "man magnet" and go forth merrily!

Paula
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Old 12-03-2012, 07:08 AM   #13
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I am trying to get more info without starting a new thread. The one I am looking at is same year and model. Does a value around 5k seem reasonable based on my (above) description? I have the ability to tackle about 95% of the work needed to restore it myself.
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Old 12-03-2012, 09:08 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtbguy View Post
I am trying to get more info without starting a new thread. The one I am looking at is same year and model. Does a value around 5k seem reasonable based on my (above) description? I have the ability to tackle about 95% of the work needed to restore it myself.
IMHO, in the $5k range an Argosy should be ready to camp in, but may not be very pretty. By that I mean the plumbing shouldn't leak at all (including dump valves) and the body of the trailer shouldn't leak much, and you're not going to fall through the floor anywhere. The appliances should work though realistically they'll be older. The interior may be vintage or may be an older update, but the furniture should be there and usable. The electrical systems should work (both 120v and 12v), but you may find that it has the original battery-boiler rather than a modern 3-stage converter/charger.

Print out a copy of the Trailer Inspectors' Checklist and use it, it's a great resource for making a thorough and honest inspection of a vintage trailer. It helped me pass on a couple of money pits and helped me feel confident about the Argosy I eventually bought (and I'm still happy about the purchase 15 trips and several dollars into ownership.)
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